Hugh de Lacy

(c. 1116—1186) magnate

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(d. 1186). De Lacy accompanied Henry II on his expedition to Ireland in 1171 and was granted the kingdom of Mide(Meath), along with custody of the city of Dublin, which Henry retained as royal demesne. In 1172 Tigernán Ua Ruairc, king of Bréifne, who had been expanding into the pre-Norman kingdom of Mide, was killed while parleying with de Lacy on the Hill of Ward, Co. Meath. Hugh then set about encastellating Mide, choosing Trim as his principal castle, and planting Meath with tenants drawn from his English and Welsh estates. About 1180 he married a daughter of Rory O'Connor (Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair), thereby incurring the suspicions of Henry II that he aspired to the kingship of all Ireland. He was recalled to England to answer charges in 1181, but was sent back with a royal clerk, Robert of Shrewsbury, to oversee him. In 1185 king Henry sent his son John to assert control over Hugh, but his expedition failed in this aim. When news reached the English court that de Lacy had been murdered by an Irish member of his household, who had struck him with an axe while he was inspecting the building of a castle at Durrow, Henry is reported to have been overjoyed. Hugh's burial in Bective abbey was disputed by St Thomas's abbey, Dublin, which in 1195 secured his head; in 1205 his body was also recovered and laid to rest alongside his first wife, Rose of Monmouth. He was succeeded by his son Walter, who had to invoke the aid of King Richard in 1194 against his brother John, who sought to deny Walter the lordship of Meath.

From The Oxford Companion to Irish History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: European History.

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